Bills players and PGA golfers swap practices

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(From left) Ryan Palmer, Kyle Williams, Martin Laird

About one mile apart in Pittsford, NY, two major professional sports operations have set up camp, turning the quaint Rochester suburb into a bustling athletic hub.

And though the PGA Championship and Buffalo Bills Training Camp showcase very different types of athletes, there was a bit of crossover this week between the course and the field.

A number of Bills players took in Tuesday's practice round at Oak Hill Country Club, including C Eric Wood, P Shawn Powell and OL Sam Young.

"It was really cool. We had a good time," said Wood. "It was neat seeing those guys go to work because the only time you really ever see them is on TV. You don't realize how much preparation goes in before they get out there."

Teammate Kyle Williams found out what that preparation process is like first hand, after he was invited to walk the course during Tuesday's practice round alongside golfers Ryan Palmer, Bo Van Pelt, and David Toms.

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"It was great to talk to them for a little while and hear what they talk about while they're playing, listen to them and their caddies talk about how they're going to attack the course that week. It's a lot of fun," Williams said.

Williams knew Toms from his days at LSU, but was invited to walk 9 holes by Palmer only the day before the round, when Palmer attended the Monday night practice at Bills Camp.

"It's relaxing to be here for a fun week and kind of kill some time one night to come out and see some guys play," Palmer said. "I was able to get out there this morning and play nine holes and now I'm here with my son and my father in law ready to blow off some stream and enjoy some football."

Though he roots for the Dallas Cowboys as he's a native Texan, Palmer admitted that after his Bills Camp experience, he'd root for the Bills unless the teams are head to head.

"It's my first camp," he said. "I'll keep an eye on the Bills from now on."

"It's pretty neat. You watch NFL Network and you see the different teams, how they run camp and how it works, and it's cool to be here and see all the commotion going on, watch those guys fight for a job."

And after swapping practice experiences this week, respect for each other's craft was was mutual.

"They have a lot of pressure on them, and I have a lot of respect for golfers because you don't necessarily have a team," said Wood. "You're going out there week to week trying to earn a paycheck. So I respect those guys because the amount of pressure they feel on Sunday when they're close to the top of that leaderboard is pretty huge."

"It's a lot different," said Williams. "Their preparation is different, the way that they handle it is different, but the focus is the same."

NOTE: Palmer and Toms made the cut to advance to Saturday's third round, and will look to be a contender on Sunday as the Bills take on the Indianapolis Colts in their first preseason game of the year.

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